Robert Mair is the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering at Cambridge University and until recently was Head of Civil Engineering at Cambridge. He was Master of Jesus College 2001-2011 and Senior Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2008-2011. Before he was appointed to a Professorship at Cambridge in 1998 he worked in industry for 27 years, joining Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick after graduating from Cambridge; he worked in Hong Kong in the early 1970s. In 1983 he became a founding Director of the Geotechnical Consulting Group, an international consulting company based in London and is currently a Senior Partner. He is also Engineering Adviser to the Laing O’Rourke Group.
His research group at Cambridge specialises in the geotechnics of tunnelling and underground construction. He has advised on numerous tunnelling and major civil engineering projects in the UK and worldwide. He has been closely involved with many London Underground projects, as well as Crossrail for which he has been a member of its Engineering Expert Panel. He is Chairman of the Science Advisory Council of the Department of Transport. He also leads the Centre on Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at Cambridge, involving the innovative use of the latest sensor technologies to monitor the performance of civil engineering infrastructure. He chaired the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Report on Shale Gas for the Government, published in 2012.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992 and of the Royal Society in 2007. He was recently appointed an independent crossbencher in the House of Lords and is a member of their Select Committee on Science and Technology.